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Spring Fashions

Katie Wagner and Molly Griffin | Monday, March 22, 2004

It might be snowing this week in South Bend, but April and warm weather are coming up. It’s time to get to the mall, break out the credit card and invest in some new styles to show off the spring break tan.This spring’s look for women is bound to get even those who simply are not into fashion racing to the malls.That’s because the clothes are more colorful, exotic, feminine and flattering than they have been in years. The diversity of clothing items and accessories that are in style this spring is what makes being fashionable so attractive and easy. With so many different cuts for skirts and dresses available, every girl is bound to find something ultra-feminine that flatters her figure.

SkirtsFor example, this spring’s fashionable skirts range from extremely short to knee-length, to mid-calve-length, to even ankle length. Fringe is popular for all skirts and looks best on longer skirts. Ruffles and asymmetrical hems are two things to look for when picking out your spring skirt. To give yourself a cute Euro-look try a multi-layered mini with legwarmers. These skirts somewhat resemble last year’s short pleated shirts, but have more feminine flair to them. Of course sporty tennis-inspired skirts, plaid kilts and other kinds of pleated skirts are still very in this spring. These pleats can be either large or tiny. Just keep in mind that for pleated and multi-layered skirts, the shorter the better.

DressesThere’s also more than one dress style favored by designers this spring. If you’ve always felt you were made for ’20s styled clothes, it’s your time to look your best in a silky flapper-inspired dresses. These are straight, drop at the waist and have asymmetrical hems. If you’d prefer to have been born in the ’50s, you can sport this decade’s dresses, too. They are full-skirted and fitted everywhere else – think Audrey Hepburn. Also, don’t throw out your timeless halters or strapless dresses that are frilly and full of ruffles. The best length to go with for dresses is slightly above the knees.

ShoesIf you are on the shorter side and just can’t stand dresses of this length, put on a pair of high strappy dress shoes to lengthen your legs. Ballet flats, high-heeled sandals, round-toed pumps and any kind of colored shoes, including sneakers, are the newest styles to put on your feet.

ColorsWhen it comes to choosing the right color for this spring, pink is your best bet. Any shade will do, but hot pink certainly is the hottest color on the runway. If pinks don’t work with your complexion, try tropical colors such as blue, yellow, orange, lime-green, teal or soft mint green. Purchasing pants, dresses, skirts and purses with either tiny or big flower prints incorporating some of these colors would be great moves. Clothing and bags with stripes and polka dots are also in style. As for jackets, colored trenches are the number one buy and very short jackets are also very stylish.

AccessoriesWhile you may feel understandably overwhelmed by all these new accessories, tops and skirts that have been appearing in your shopping malls, don’t stress. The styles of previous springs have not yet been forgotten. You can keep wearing your mules, sandals, high boots, cropped pants, Hawaiian prints and lace. Also, use all your solid tanks and tees for layering under this spring’s off-the-shoulder sweaters, shirts and sweatshirts.Bare your shoulders and bra-straps to feel as sexy as Sixteen Candles’ Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald) when she finally kisses Jake Ryan.Once you’ve got an off-the-shoulder, top, a very cute skirt and some bright shoes, you might want to accessorize. Satin ribbons and flowers are the best editions to any outfit, whether worn in the hair or on clothes. Ribbons are great for accentuating waists. Colorful bracelets and hoop earrings are also items worth trying.As for fabrics, silk, satin, chiffon and anything sheer fit this spring’s look best, since these materials are so feminine. This spring’s fashion is great because it leaves plenty of room for experimentation and provides girls with the opportunity to dress as femininely and vibrantly as they desire.

Men’s fashion this spring revives some old trends, updates some more recent ones and infused clothing with some outside influences. The amalgamation of new and retro styles somehow comes together into a coherent style for this spring, even offering some fashionable leeway for dealing with inclimate weather. The blending and borrowing between different elements of style makes these trends easy to follow and difficult to mess up, and you may already have some of the big items sitting in your closet.

Athletic WearA variety of sports are being tapped as influences for this spring’s fashion, including track, motocross and soccer. The key to wearing athletic pieces is to mix them up with other style elements, so as to not look like you’re just an athlete suiting up for a game. Many of the pieces have a retro ’70s feel to them, especially in the bright colors paired with white strips and other details. Examples of this fashion fusion would include wearing a sporty jacket with dress pants, or pairing athletic shoes with a suit.Polo ShirtsWhile always a fashion staple, polos are enjoying added attention this spring. Expect to see a variety of polo styles, like fitted or classic. Patterns range from brights to stripes. Brands like Ralph Lauren and Banana Republic are always classics, but this year heralds the Lacoste revival. The shirts were popular in the ’80s and disappeared from the fashion radar for a while, but they are back with a vengeance this year. Polos are always popular among a variety of different age groups, but it is enjoying its new place in the fashion world because of the athletic influences tingeing most of the spring collections.

DenimJeans are another staple of every male’s wardrobe, but the styles vary from season to season. This spring, two completely different types of denim are in style. Dark denim with a clean finish is one of the main styles, and the fact that it can be easily dressed up or down makes it an extremely versatile style. The other major look in denim this season is distressed jeans. These jeans are slightly ripped and faded to give the appearance of age. This style is less versatile than un-distressed jeans, but it does add some edge to an outfit. It also goes well with athletic- or punk-inspired looks.

ShoesTennis shoes are a necessity for every wardrobe, but that doesn’t necessarily put them in the ranks of high fashion. With the incorporation of athletic styles into the fashion world, tennis shoes have begun to move up the ranks of the fashion ladder. Many athletic shoe companies, like Nike and Adidas, have begun to make more fashion-friendly models. Popular styles include bright colors and some throwbacks to shoes from the ’70s and’80s. Companies like Prada and Dolce & Gabbana are making shoes, revealing that the trend has pervaded even the upper echelons of the fashion world.

SuitsSpring often brings new innovations to classic styles, and men’s suits are a perfect canvas for such fashion re-workings. Pinstripes and other classic styles are regaining their popularity, and one of the biggest trends in men’s wear this season is pairing striped or patterned shirts and ties together to create contrasting textures. Another trend in suits this season is incorporating less formal elements into dressing up. Suits are being designed to be worn with tennis shoes, and many have lower waists and wider legs so as to look less fitted and more laid back. Suits now have the freedom to be completely tailored or somewhat less fitted and formal.